I love mad things. So what place could be more exciting than Vienna? Oh, Vienna, my love. You beautiful mad old spinster of a woman. And what could be more appropriate, logical even, than that my flat is just opposite the biggest madhouse of them all? The Vienna Stadtpark.
It is with anticipation that I take my first stroll towards the park this morning. My heart is beating a little faster. I am smiling to strangers. I am saying Hello to the introverted gardener that I have met every day (except for when I am in London) for over thirteen years. Of course, true to his nature, he doesn't even acknowledge my presence with a blink. I enter the gates, between the two flower stalls, and my eyes eagerly dart over the benches and across the lawns. Where are my friends? Where are the regulars? We all know each other, but no one ever looks the other in the eye. Oooohhhh! There she is! The crazy old witch! I see her round, whale-like body laying on a bench reading the newspaper. Her lipstick is drawn all over her cheeks, as usual. Her bright blue eyeshadow is painted even over her eyebrows. Her scarf is dramatically draped around head and shoulder. There is an explosion right in the middle of my gut. A bubble breaks and a wave of ecstatic joy reverberates through every single cell in my body. How I love her! How I have missed her! Her gravity pulls me to her, I want to shower her with kisses. But I stop, remembering the time she almost killed me as I dared to smile at her and look her in the eyes. I lower my gaze and continue, practicing the art of letting go. Ahhh! There is the mad drug addict! He is laying in the grass, his long hair glimmering in the sun, practicing yoga. With a burning cigarette dangling in the corner of his mouth and a can of beer within easy reach, mind you. I could get into that, I think, what an amazing solution to the sport-problem. Then I pass the man with the inhaling machine, the bird-woman and the accordion player who plays playback with an old CD player right there at his feet...
Crazy Good Wild Rice Risotto (this is insanely good, I swear! And so healthy too...)
1 1/2 dl wild rice
half a leek, plus some of the green stuff on top
1 red pepper
1 stalk of spinach beet, plus some of the leave
a hint of chili
Cook the rice for around 30-40 minutes. Cut the leek, ginger, red pepper and the spinach beet into chunky bits. Fry the veggies for about 5 minutes in olive oil. Sprinkle over a small spoon-full of stock, stir and let the veggies and the oil soak up the stock. Pour over half a coffee cup of water. When the veggies are soft enough, get the rice in there and stir. Squeeze half a lemon on top of that and half a teaspoon of sambal oelek. Pour over another half cup of water, to make it creamy and juicy (I despise anything that is not juicy, it's a philosophy).
Avocado Dip: Just mix together one avocado and a two or three garlic cloves with a pinch of salt.
Place a nice, big chunk of dip on the rice. I had some parsley and some black cumin on there as well.